DISPLEASING TSAR VALDIMIR – In the post-Soviet Russia, it’s not the leaders whose sanity is questioned, but those who question the leaders:
A Russian historian whose exposure of Soviet leader Josef Stalin’s crimes angered state officials is due to begin enforced psychiatric testing this week amid fears he will be falsely declared insane, his lawyer said on Tuesday.
Yuri Dmitriev, 61, is on trial in northwest Russia on charges brought by state prosecutors of involving his adopted daughter, then 11, in child pornography, of illegally possessing “the main elements of” a firearm, and of depravity involving a minor.
Some of Russia’s leading cultural figures say Dmitriev was framed because his focus on Stalin’s crimes – he found a mass grave with up to 9,000 bodies dating from the Soviet dictator’s Great Terror in the 1930s – jars with the latter-day Kremlin narrative that Russia must not be ashamed of its past.
The narrative has taken on added importance ahead of a March presidential election which polls show incumbent Vladimir Putin, who uses his country’s World War Two victory when Stalin was in charge to bolster national pride, is on track to win.
Putin asserted last year that what he called an “excessive demonization of Stalin” was being used to undermine Russia.
Let that sink in. Imagine Angela Merkel cautioning about an “excessive demonization of Hitler.”